Sonic Mania (Switch)

With all the Chaos Emeralds collected, I ran through the rest of the levels and faced the true final boss. Or rather, bosses. One of them appeared to be Big the Cat in power armour.

And I beat them.

Sonic Mania (Switch)

Now Sonic can be Super Sonic!

That review I said I was going to do? It’s here.

In other news – I’ve got all the Chaos Emeralds! The special stages are pretty hard, the 4th and 6th ones especially so. Somehow, the 7th was very easy and I completed it on my first go without even gaining much speed.

Now to play through the rest of the game for the proper ending!

Sonic Mania (Switch): COMPLETED!

Sanic

Just a short post about this, because I’ll be writing a full review in due course, but oh my. It’s good. After so many letdowns and missteps, Sega have finally come up with a truly fantastic Sonic game. Only they didn’t, did they? A team of fans did instead. Tch, eh?

I love the new takes on old zones, new versions of old bosses, new remixes of old music. Levels which are mashups of old levels. New levels which feel like they are from old Sonic games but aren’t. It’s all exactly what I wanted from a new Sonic game.

Sonci Mania

There are a few later zones which don’t feel quite as good as earlier ones, and a handful of bugs, but it’s nigh on perfect. Well done to all concerned.

And yes, I bought it, played it, and completed it in a single day. I’d avoided all media to do with the game since they started revealing zones and features, so almost every level was a complete surprise. Even those I knew about had surprises. Lovely.

Now to get all the Chaos Emeralds. Which is Hard.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst (Switch)

Cupid, draw back your bow.

Which I’ve completed again. This week, they added Gal*Gun’s Ekoro as a new, free, DLC character. Of course, that meant I had to play it again.

Ekoro’s main differences are that her shots appear to be substantially weaker than either Beck or Gunvolt, and that her “aerial” ability is being able to hover and glide. She also jumps a lot higher than the other characters, making some of the game much easier – and a couple of sections somewhat harder. Spikes on the ceiling, you see.

The story sections are simply removed in this run through. It’s a shame, but there aren’t many anyway and wouldn’t make sense any more either.

As always, it’s a great game. I wonder who else is going to appear as DLC? A current rumour would be Shovel Knight…

Mighty Gunvolt Burst (Switch): COMPLETED!

The impression that I get.

A couple of years ago, there was a game called Mighty Gunvolt. It was a sort of 8bit demake of Azure Striker Gunvolt, the Mega Man-inspired game that it came free with. It was great. Short, but great. Recently, they made this sequel – Mighty Gunvolt Burst.

Still 8bit in style, but boasting more levels and a really deep customisable weapon and ability system, it improves on the original in almost every way.

As you play, you find extra moves and modifications for your weapons. You can use them in any combination, but each costs points to do so. You have the situation where you might need to decide if you’re prepared to have slower, less powerful shots so you’re able to double jump. Or maybe really powerful shots that are homing, but in order to pay for it you have to decrease your defence. You can earn more points, but invariably you never have quite enough for your perfect loadout!

There are two characters to play as: Gunvolt, from the original game, and Beck, from Mighty No.9. Gunvolt has fewer weapon customisation options than Beck, but Beck doesn’t have a multiple jump or any special weapons. I’ve completed the game as both now, and prefer Gunvolt.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst is still quite a short game, but there’s replay value (you have to finish each level at least three times as each character in order to unlock everything) and it’s substantially bigger than Mighty Gunvolt was. I’ve put around 7 hours into it so far, whereas I’d nearly 100%ed the first game in just two.

I’m now really looking forward to the Azure Striker Gunvolt and Gunvolt 2 double pack that’s supposedly coming to the Switch next month. I’ve played the original, of course, but not any of the DLC and for some reason never picked up the sequel. I definitely will be now!

Plantera DX (Switch): COMPLETED!

Buying the farm.

At least, I’m classing Plantera DX as completed. I’m at the point now, at around level 155 or so, that there are diminishing returns. It takes more than a whole day’s play (or leave it for that long to generate money) to get enough cash to either expand the farm or buy the next multiplier upgrade. Doing so barely speeds up the money generation, yet the next expansion or upgrade is even more expensive.

What I’m saying, is, that upgrades are getting further away at a faster rate than money generation is speeding up.

I was going to stop when I had all the achievements, but they’re broken so I can’t. For example, one is to plant 100 trees in total. Not at the same time (the devs have specifically stated that) which is just as well as I’d have to be on level 1000 or something for that to be possible, just in total. You can bin and re-plant trees. So I did that. In one play session, I planted more than 200 trees. No achievement. I’ve planted over 400 in total, but supposedly only need 100. The same goes for bushes, plants and animals – I’ve gone way over 100, but no achievement.

I do have everything unlocked, though, so there’s that. I’m probably still going to play it a bit more too. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s done. Complete.

Kamiko (Switch): COMPLETED!

Save keys to open doors.

I’m a big fan of Fairune, that tiny adventure game for the 3DS with no proper combat and a very odd way of levelling up. Kamiko is by the same developer, and so I was interested as sound as I realised this.

And it’s great. Short, but great. You move through four small levels, opening doors and making pathways appear by pressing buttons or finding and carrying keys. Not dissimilar to Fairune, but the big change is in the combat. Whereas in Fairune you just bump into baddies, here you actually have to swipe your sword or loose your arrows or whatever.

kamiko

There are also Titan Souls-esque (but much easier to beat) bosses at the end of each level.

And that’s it. It cost me 30p, I’ve completed it as Sword Person, and I’m halfway through a run as Bow Person.

Lego City Undercover (Switch): COMPLETED!

Compuper?

Is it really four years since I completed this last time? It doesn’t seem that long ago at all. Not much is different in the Switch version, apart from two major things:

1) It’s two player! OK, so it’s a bodged two player, in that both people play as Chase McCain even though that makes no sense, but that doesn’t really matter. Having two players lets you, obviously, do two things at once – making going for 100% a much quicker and less daunting task.

2) The loading times! Certainly, they’re still there, but they’re so much shorter and less frequent. On the Wii U version there’d be times when you’d wait over a minute – perhaps even two minutes – for parts of the game to load. Around 30 seconds is the most I’ve come across on the Switch, but it’s usually less than that.

Other than those, though, Lego City Undercover is the same game as before. And that’s just perfect because it’s was, and still is, one of the very best Lego games. Perhaps the best, now it’s improved in those ways mentioned above. A toss-up between this and Lego Marvel Super Heroes, anyway.

Now to get everything I’ve missed. Sorry, we’ve missed. Yeah, I’ve played the whole thing through with my daughter this time round, which wasn’t possible before.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (Switch): COMPLETED!

What is it like to be… hu-man?

Sometimes, I wonder if my game playing skills have deteriorated over the years. A combination of getting older, and games getting easier. It’s likely. It’s with trepidation that I tackled The Dragon’s Trap then, as I always found the original much too hard.

dragon's trap

As far as I can make out, the new version does nothing to make things easier. It’s a reskin, with everything in the same place. Enemies take the same damage. There aren’t any new powers or anything to help. I wasn’t sure I’d manage it.

It’s true that The Dragon’s Trap was indeed difficult. However, when I took my time, actually watched the baddies, anticipated their movements and attacks, I realised it was doable. Just like in the old days. Funny that. Grinding for money to buy better equipment helped too. Sure, I messed up a lot. Died one hell of a lot. But today, I beat the final boss.

Not that I realised it was the final boss. I thought there’d be at least one more after it, but no – up came the end of game sequence. Oddly enough, the final boss was by far the easiest. He was easy to dodge. You could hit him anywhere (not just his head like with the other dragons), and you automatically block all his attacks. Assuming you face him, anyway. No epic final battle, sadly, and although I was sure I’d have to return to the castle afterwards, alas, this was not the case.

It doesn’t really matter. I had my fun and beat a game I’d never beaten before.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (Switch)

Sitting oh so proudly.

To my forever shame, I never completed Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap on the Master System. I own it of course, and played it a lot years ago. As most people will agree, it’s a fantastic game, but somehow, even with the infamous WE5T ONE “cheat” I could never beat it.

Until now!

If only. No, it’s still hard.

This new remake isn’t really a remake. It’s a reskin. Everything bar the sound and graphics are exactly like the original. It doesn’t look like it, but all the blocks, items, baddies and objects are exactly where they used to be, and attack or respond in the same way. Only now they have fancy new graphics and animation! There’s actually a button you can press at any moment that “unskins” the game and lets you play it just as it was on the Master System. You can swap back and forth whenever you like. It’s black magic.

wonder boy

Which means, it’s the same game as before. Thankfully, it was a great game before and so still is now. But oh so hard.

I’ve worked my way through Dragon Girl (oh yeah, you can be a girl now) and Mouse Girl’s sections, and have beaten a few bosses. I can’t defeat Pirate Dragon though, as he’s clearly impossible. I’ve managed to upgrade some of my equipment, found an extra heart, and bagged some special weapons, but all in vain as I fell once more. Hmm.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

The Lynel Sleeps Tonight

I think… I’m done with Breath of the Wild.

After completing the game, I’ve spent another 40 or so hours mopping up various things. I’ve found all the memories, and beaten every one of the 120 shrines. Most of the armour sets in the game are now done, I’ve explored about as much as I want to, and I’ve even beaten a Lynel. With all this, I walked back into the castle, and stomped all over Ganon as I’m stupidly overpowered now. Game completed. Again.

Certainly, I’ve some stuff left to do should I wish to return: Of the 900 Koroks, I have just 150-ish. There are at least ten side-quests remaining, and a few more shrine quests (which I’ve completed, but have to trigger the start of in order for them to register as completed, if you see what I mean). And I think I probably will return, at some point. Perhaps when the DLC is out and I can see what it actually contains. A new area of the map with more shrines and another boss would be good.

For now, though, it’s time to move onto other games. Is Breath of the Wild the best game ever? No 1. Is it the best Zelda game ever? No 2. Is it the best 3D Zelda game ever? Also, no 3. But is Breath of the Wild a fantastic game? Absolutely.

Notes:

  1. That’s Run Baby Run
  2. That’s Oracle of Ages and/or Seasons
  3. That’d be HYRULE WARRIORS

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch): COMPLETED!

It’s Ganon down. I’m yelling timber.

Two big firsts with this game. The first first, is that it’s my first completed Switch game. The second first, is that it’s my first completed 3D Zelda game. Well, aside from HYRULE WARRIORS, but that isn’t a “traditional” Zelda game.

That being said, neither is Breath of the Wild. It has Zelda lore, Zelda themes, Zelda music… but nothing about the gameplay is actual Zelda. This game is all about traversal, exploration, survival. There are no dungeons. You obtain all the “special weapons” (“runes”, here) within the first couple of hours play, rather than en-route to each boss. There’s no sequence to follow, as, in fact, it’s perfectly possible to legitimately skip virtually the entire story and literally just walk up to the final boss and beat him.

breath of the wild

This is not Zelda.

But, for me, that’s a great thing. I’ve always liked the idea of the 3D Zelda games. I enjoyed, for a time, Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, but never enough to ever finish them. I’d get bored or annoyed and just leave them incomplete. Breath of the Wild had me hooked the entire time, and I think it’s because of the major changes to the formula.

A few times, while playing, I thought “this isn’t fun”. In Twilight Princess, my options were stop playing, or force my way through it. Here, I could go and do something else instead and come back later. Much later, in the case of the iguana beast: I disabled it, went off to find some more weapons, then came back thirty hours later to carry on playing. Turns out it was a walkover.

After which I took on the bird beast, who was also a walkover, and emboldened by these two victories I decided to take on Ganon.

Who was also a walkover. Which was slightly disappointing. I was expecting it to be near impossible, and sure, I had some great armour and 16 hearts, but I only took one heart damage. One! And I still can’t parry properly!

Now the important question: Is this the best game ever? No. It’s a great game, certainly, but it still has issues. Is it the best Zelda game ever? Again, no. A Link Between Worlds and Hyrule Warriors are both better – Hyrule Warriors is more fun, ALBW is more focussed. But Breath of the Wild is wonderful, and has given me faith for the 3D Zelda series and Nintendo’s other series’ too – if they can shake up Zelda this much and come out with a winner, just imagine Metroid or Kid Icarus.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

Take my breath away.

Just a quick post about Breath of the Wild. Firstly, it’s how Ubisoft would make Zelda. There are so many bits straight out of an Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry game. The plains, woods, and crafting – not to mention Link’s clothes – are straight out of the worst of all Assassin’s Creeds: III. Sneak up behind baddies for instant kills. You can even perform air assassinations of a sort.

breath of the wild

This is not Zelda.

I’m something like 15 hours in. I’ve done the “tutorial”, reached Impa’s village and then the village on the far right of the map. I’ve completed some side quests, upgraded my clothes, and made it up to Zora’s Domain. Here I had a chat with my dead fishgirlfriend, and boarded a giant war elephant, which I think I’m nearly finished on.

Thoughts? It’s hard. Very, very hard. Having to constantly find and swap weapons because they break so easily is frustrating. Having to cook food to make health items is tiresome. The framerate is all over the place at times. It doesn’t really bother me,  but is a little worrying for a brand new console. Especially since the same game is on the Wii U. Swapping melee, bow and runic items is fiddly (especially swapping arrows), more so mid-fight.

But… I am enjoying Breath of the Wild more than I expected to. It’s a million times better than Twilight Princess, but it lacks the fun, simplicity and immediacy of HYRULE WARRIORS.